Sweet Holiday Treats

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

This is always one of the busiest and most exciting weeks of the year. The first week in December. The week after Thanksgiving. Black Friday, Football Rivalries, Parades, Annual Tree Lighting events, Musical Performances, Etc., Etc., Etc., as the King of Siam would say! And the weeks to follow will be full of parties, get-togethers of families and friends featuring gifts, music, games, and Food!
When I began thinking about what to serve at least three events we would be hosting, I went to my most tried and true cookbooks. They are a bit stained and dog-eared, but I can be sure of finding simple, delicious, and inexpensive recipes. Yes, they are “old favorites,” but to me, they are the very best.  Let me share a few of these, many may already be among your favorites too. Try them. They will never disappoint.

First: No party should be without this appetizer. Swedish Meatballs. My Writer’s Group will be served these on the 16th of December. This promises to be a fun gathering as Karaoke will also be served.
Combine all the following ingredients except the cooking oil.
1 lb pork sausage    2 Tbsp. cornstarch    2 Tbsp. soy sauce   1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. Bread crumbs    1/2 c. Chopped pecans  1 medium onion    Pinch of ginger
Mix well.  Make into balls and brown in the oil on low heat. Makes 25 to 40.
(“Our Favorite Recipes St Luke United Methodist Church Tupelo, Mississippi)

Then: Remember the red and white checkerboard Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks that are over 70 years old? This Creamy Chip & Dip recipe, so popular in the 60’s, will make it on almost every snack table, certainly ours. So easy.
Blend 1 1/2 cups of sour cream and 2 tablespoons dry onion soup mix.  Makes about 2 cups. Try this addition: Stir in 2 ounces of crumbled blue cheese and 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts.

Next: This Banana Bread recipe is a staple in our home all year but makes wonderful gifts for neighbors.  I bake this in one loaf pan or in four small pans. Either turn out beautifully if you spray the pans with Pam! Makes me look good.
Cream 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup butter. Add 1 egg and beat well. Crush 3 or 4 small bananas. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. soda, 1/4 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp nutmeg. Add 1 1/2 cup flour gradually. Beat until smooth. Pour into 4″ x 8” loaf pan or four small loaf pans. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 mins (single large loaf) or 25 mins for smalls.

Make Ahead:  This Frozen Fruit Salad, a favorite at all Bridge parties and Ladies Luncheons back in the 70s, made it into the Sharpsburg Baptist Church cookbook last year thanks to Betty Key.  I could eat it as a salad or as a dessert or maybe for a midnight snack!

Cream 8 oz. of cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth.  Add 16 oz. crushed drained pineapple. Mix well. Add 20 oz. pkg of sliced strawberries and 2 bananas, mashed.  Stir in 1 chopped cup nuts and 12 oz. Cool Whip. Pour into a Pyrex dish and freeze. Cut into squares with a warmed knife and serve immediately. Delicious. Yum.

Finally:  I found this written into the back cover of a loose leaf binder that once had a cover. We called these Peanut Blossoms back in the early 80’s when my girls were eager to help bake (and eat half the chocolates they pulled from the little foil wrappers).  I loved this cookbook so much that the cover has been worn completely off. The recipe is pretty standard; most of you will recognize it.

Cream 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup Crisco, and 1/2 cup Jiff. Add 1 egg, 2 Tbsp. Milk, and 1 tsp. Vanilla. Mix with dry ingredients: 1 3/4 cup regular flour, 1 tsp. soda, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Shape moist dough into balls (one tsp. each). Roll these in sugar, place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about ten minutes at 375 degrees. Then top each cookie with a candy Kiss. Press down gently. Sweeet.

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